Quick Takes: Iran Releases Northridge Student on Bail, Economic Downturn Hits Harvard, Phoenix Settles Claims of Pro-Mormon Bias, IU Compromise on Building Named for Segregationist, Next Hopkins President, New Name for Land Grant Group, Alumni Snobbery

November 11, 2008
  • Iranian authorities have granted bail and released from jail Esha Momeni, a graduate student at California State University at Northridge, the Los Angeles Times reported. Momeni was in Iran studying the women's movement there as part of her master's thesis when she was arrested. Her father said Monday that she faces charges of "acting against national security" and "propagating against the system." Momeni's arrest has concerned many academics in the United States and some of her supporters have maintained a Web site on her situation.
  • Harvard University is "not invulnerable to the seismic financial shocks in the larger world" and has seen its economic situation "significantly altered," Drew Faust, the president, said in a message distributed on the campus Monday. While pledging continued commitments to the university's ideals and to financial aid, she said that "we need to be prepared to absorb unprecedented endowment losses and plan for a period of greater financial constraint." While writing that all parts of Harvard would need to evaluate priorities and spending, she also stressed the university's decentralized nature and said that individual units might well deal with the financial problems in different ways.
  • The University of Phoenix has agreed to pay $1,875,000 to 52 enrollment counselors who say that they were discriminated against because they are not Mormons. The settlement follows a suit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which found valid the employees' claims that those who were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were provided with better student leads and were promoted over better qualified non-Mormons. In a statement, the University of Phoenix said it was committed to equal opportunity and that its agreement to settle the suit did not involve any admission of wrongdoing.
  • A panel is recommending that Indiana University at Bloomington not remove a segregationist's name from a campus building, but add to the building name the name of the first black basketball player at the university, the Associated Press reported. The building is currently named for Ora Wildermuth, a judge and former Indiana University trustee who died in 1964. Last year, letters from the 1940s surfaced in which he wrote to IU administrators such views as “I am and shall always remain absolutely and utterly opposed to social intermingling of the colored race with the white" and “The average of the (black) race as to intelligence, economic status and industry is so far below the white average that it seems to me futile to build up hope for a great future.” When the letters were revealed, some asked for his name to be removed from the building, leading to the appointment of review panel. That group concluded that it would be wrong to judge Wildermuth by today's standards, and instead opted to recommend that the building honor both Wildermuth and the late William L. Garrett, who was IU's first black basketball player.
  • The board of Johns Hopkins University is today expected to name Ronald J. Daniels as the institution's next president, The Baltimore Sun reported. Daniels is provost at the University of Pennsylvania and formerly was dean of the law school at the University of Toronto.
  • The National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges is changing its name to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, effective April 1, 2009. Some leaders of the land-grant group have long wanted a shorter name, but members have also wanted to keep specific mention of land-grant universities. The current name's acronym of NASULGC has also frustrated some association members because it doesn't lend itself to poetic or even easy pronunciation. Association leaders want the new name to be read as a series of letters -- A-P-L-U -- rather than pronounced.
  • Snobbery is alive and well at the Yale Club, although New York City publications are debating exactly what the controversy means. In "Snobs in a Snit at Ivy Club," The New York Post alerted readers that members of the club, located in midtown Manhattan, are upset that too many non-members are being allowed to rent the place for weddings or other celebrations. "I just want to put my feet up here, but instead, weddings are being shipped down from the Bronx," was how Mrs. Harrison DeSilver described the problem to the Post. Other members complained that they are forced to encounter non-club members in the pool or gym. Horrors! New York Magazine then came to the club's defense, sort of, by saying that the quote about the Bronx gives the wrong impression about the objections. Rather, the magazine said, alumni are upset that the Yale Club has arrangements to admit alumni of Dartmouth College and the University of Virginia. "Elis don't have a snobby Bronx problem, they have a perfectly understandable safety-school problem," according to the magazine.
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